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Long distance folding bike

stefanostefano Posts: 254
edited February 2019 in Commuting general
I am going to start a new commuting route about 15 miles, then I need to get on the train to continue.

What folding bike will be good for 15 miles each way?

My budget is 2 grand.

I was thinking the titanium superlight Brompton, but seems a bit short for this distance.

Then, the Tern Verge X11 with 451 wheels a bit more appropriate.

I also looked at the Airnimal Joey, but needs to remove the front wheel to fold it.

Finally, I looked at the Montague Boston. This I am not sure if can be folded without removing the front wheel?

Any suggestions or comments are welcome. What do you think?

Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Brompton. It's a much better ride than you expect.
  • Do you need your bike the other end of your commute? If not why not get an old commuter and leave it the at train station, spend the saving on wheels?
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,596
    Brompton is probably the best. Some guy recently did lejog or something similar on one so more than capable for your needs.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • SInce when 15 miles is long distance?

    The best long distance foldings are Moulton, because of the gear range, but I am talking 100 miles, not 15. For 15 miles, I would get a Brompton, standard, no need for titanium nonsense (although they retain value well, so if you want to spend extra, it's not wasted money). S3L will do most routes, S2L if it's flatter, S6L if it's very hilly.
    My commute is 12 miles each way, occasionally I use the Brompton and it's absolutely fine... quite quick too... I have managed 18 mph average on occasions
  • stefanostefano Posts: 254
    At the other end I need to cycle for another mile, I could walk but cycling would be better. The budget is very low, I would spend more than 2 grand in two years so I am happy to go for the Brompton Titanium.

    I prefer a folder since I can use it in the other side of my commute also, to go for a drink in the afternoon with the colleagues.

    The reason I am thinking a folder with bigger wheels is that my commute will also be my training so lycra cycling shoes and I would like to get some speed.

    Would the Brompton be good to push it a bit or I need something more "racing"?
  • Brompton. S2LX. Ergon grips or stubby bar ends. Kojak slicks.
    Put a racing saddle on, and SPDs if you must.
    Commute: Langster -Singlecross - Brompton S2-LX

    Road: 95 Trek 5500 -Look 695 Aerolight eTap - Boardman TTe eTap

    Offroad: Pace RC200 - Dawes Kickback 2 tandem - Tricross - Boardman CXR9.8 - Ridley x-fire
  • stefano wrote:
    At the other end I need to cycle for another mile, I could walk but cycling would be better. The budget is very low, I would spend more than 2 grand in two years so I am happy to go for the Brompton Titanium.

    I prefer a folder since I can use it in the other side of my commute also, to go for a drink in the afternoon with the colleagues.

    The reason I am thinking a folder with bigger wheels is that my commute will also be my training so lycra cycling shoes and I would like to get some speed.

    Would the Brompton be good to push it a bit or I need something more "racing"?

    Brompton are the best at folding small and neat. Are they quick? Well, folks manage to race on them at 25 mph on the streets of London... (just search Brompton World Championship or Brompton London Nocturne on youtube) I never managed 25 for more than a few seconds, but I can keep 20 mph on the flat relatively easily.

    The 3 speed has a massive 84 inch gear, which should allow you to go as fast as you want to go. The 2 speed has a 74 inch one, which kind of maxes out just short of 25 mph... with small wheels you need to reduce the cadence, 120 rpm is not an option, too unstable
  • stefanostefano Posts: 254
    If cruising with 20 mph is achievable then the Brompton should be OK. The 2 speed should be better because it is lighter and a bigger chaining of 56 or 58 would improve speed if needed.

    I also found another carbon fiber folder that looks very tempting:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/SAVA-Folding-C ... B071KDCYPM

    I was also thinking what is the most practical folding option, super compact like Brompton or just folding in half like the Ten Verge. the Brompton would fit in a smaller space on the train. Though, the tern would be easy to move around in the station rolling it on its wheels.
  • My feeling is that if you don't buy a Brompton, you'll regret not buying a Brompton.

    I would advise differently if you were to use it for "real long distance" like touring, in which case there are better options on the market... for commuting I think it's the best out there.
  • stefano wrote:
    If cruising with 20 mph is achievable then the Brompton should be OK. The 2 speed should be better because it is lighter and a bigger chaining of 56 or 58 would improve speed if needed.

    I also found another carbon fiber folder that looks very tempting:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/SAVA-Folding-C ... B071KDCYPM

    I was also thinking what is the most practical folding option, super compact like Brompton or just folding in half like the Ten Verge. the Brompton would fit in a smaller space on the train. Though, the tern would be easy to move around in the station rolling it on its wheels.
    I recently got a Brompton after almost going for a cheaper, bigger folder.

    Really glad I didn't (a few friends gave me good advice too) basically it still takes up enough space on the train for people to know it's there...a bigger one would really be noticeable and get in people's way. The Brompton can fit in the odd gap fairly neatly...a bigger one would mean you leaving it unattended by the train doors etc if you wanted to sit.

    And would it fit under a table at work/in the pub? I really don't think so.

    They are nice to ride to once you get used to the twitchy front end and hold their value really well too
  • KwackersKwackers Posts: 4
    edited February 2019
    Great points made above - the following are just my personal observations, but here goes:
    I commute into London every day.
    My commute is now 14 miles (in one hit, without the train journey bit).
    I've had a few variations of Bromptons, all on the 'S' bar. 2 speed, 3 speed and 6 speed but now have a Titanium version converted by Kinetics to an 11 speed Shimano Alfine hub.
    I always ride at 'tempo'/'threshold' as I kind of use my commute as a bit of exercise and appreciate a bike that 'feels' fast.
    With the Kojak tyres and 100PSI it rolls pretty briskly and against my Carbon road bike, I lose only a few minutes on the commute, tho I tend to push harder on the Brompton as I think psychologically I have something to prove!?
    As mentioned above, 20mph on the flat with no wind is do-able for sustained periods - probably losing maybe 2-3 mph against a lightweight 700c road bike

    Sorry if I've missed it, but not sure how hilly your route will be?
    Anyway, London is regarded generally as being 'flat' but believe me, even on the flattest of routes, you'll be wanting more than the 2 speed, particularly over 15 miles. I discovered this very quickly when I bought my first 2 speed which was originally just to get me to/from meetings. Even then I 'upgraded' it in for a 3 speed, which was OK but I tended to want greater variety as sometimes I'd do a 12 mile trip to my then girlfriend's place.
    I changed jobs for one which needed a 10 mile commute and treated myself to a 6 speed upgrade which was good, but the thing that drove me mad was the constant cog swapping, mainly between the 2 middle sprockets in either ratios, so I was always twiddling both the levers both up and down. Even then, I often never had quite the right ratio. Over 10 miles, this was really tedious. Admittedly, London is quite stop/start from traffic light to traffic light, but even so, it drove me nuts. I also played around with differing sizes of chainring too, but to no avail.
    Another change of offices meaning a 14 mile commute prompted me to re-assess and I decided to get the 6 speed Titanium version. I tried it but the old up & down changes still prevailed so I broke the bank and went for the 11 speed conversion.
    This is an absolute revelation!
    Super smooth sequential changes. Always in the right gear. If you could quantify the comfort and pleasure given per mile over 28 miles per day, 5 days a week, the price of an 11 speed is a bargain.

    Thinking of it another way - imagine being stuck in slightly the wrong gear for 15 miles against always being in exactly the right gear. (Sorry - maybe an exaggeration about wrong gears, but sometimes that's how it felt).

    I have to say, I personally am not too convinced of the value/benefits of the titanium version. Had I not been feeling quite so extravagant, and in hind sight, I don't think I'd have bothered. However much I try to tell myself I can feel the weight saving, and the response, I deep down know I'm only kidding myself. I really doubt you'll notice much weight difference when carrying it either. I've a sneaking suspicion that most people say it to justify spending the extra £££. Tho saying that, I don't really much regret having bought it, as I got (the greater part of) it on the Cycle to work scheme so it wasn't so painful - plus, it does give me a slightly fuzzy feeling knowing I've got the 'ultimate' frame. Call me shallow!

    For your £2k budget, you could get the 3 speed titanium and convert it to 11 speed, put some Ergon 2 grips on it and possibly still have change.
    I doubt there's much difference between the road speed of other folder, but the fold speed and utter convenience of size once folded down of a Bropton when you do the train part of your journey will make you glad you chose a Brompton every single time you do it.
    If you manage to read all this, I hope helps.

    Good luck with your decision. :D
  • Actually, thinking about it & re reading ugo's posts about inch lengths reminded me of my thoughts when riding my 2 speed.
    You'd go insane on a 2 speed, 30 miles day in day out. Twiddling like a nutter and mostly compromised for the right gear.
    If you really did decide on one, get the larger chainring option. 2nd gear for me was never high enough on the flat.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I've the six speed and 90% of my riding is in the middle 2 gears I reckon. It's good to have the range though - I think I was in top gear all the time at the Brompton World Champs.
  • Kwackers wrote:
    Actually, thinking about it & re reading ugo's posts about inch lengths reminded me of my thoughts when riding my 2 speed.
    You'd go insane on a 2 speed, 30 miles day in day out. Twiddling like a nutter and mostly compromised for the right gear.
    If you really did decide on one, get the larger chainring option. 2nd gear for me was never high enough on the flat.

    Midlands are a bit more rolling and I find the 73 inch perfect. My wife 3 speeder has an 84 inch gear, which is OK on the perfect flat/perfect surface, but too big anywhere else.

    Gear wise, Brompton will always be a compromise... your Alfine upgrade also means it will easily be well over a kilo heavier than otherwise, so good for riding, not so for carrying around
  • stefano wrote:
    The reason I am thinking a folder with bigger wheels is that my commute will also be my training so lycra cycling shoes and I would like to get some speed.

    Would the Brompton be good to push it a bit or I need something more "racing"?

    I use normal SPDs which for me work almost as well as racing cleats etc. and means I can walk OK too inbetween riding.
    There are a few companies that do detachable SPD pedals if you're worried about folding size for the train.
  • Kwackers wrote:
    Actually, thinking about it & re reading ugo's posts about inch lengths reminded me of my thoughts when riding my 2 speed.
    You'd go insane on a 2 speed, 30 miles day in day out. Twiddling like a nutter and mostly compromised for the right gear.
    If you really did decide on one, get the larger chainring option. 2nd gear for me was never high enough on the flat.

    Midlands are a bit more rolling and I find the 73 inch perfect. My wife 3 speeder has an 84 inch gear, which is OK on the perfect flat/perfect surface, but too big anywhere else.

    Gear wise, Brompton will always be a compromise... your Alfine upgrade also means it will easily be well over a kilo heavier than otherwise, so good for riding, not so for carrying around


    Yes, you're right - sorry - didn't mean to be dismissive about the 2 speed - when I had one, I loved it.
    Part of me would like the purity of the 2 speed.
  • We are taking the Bromptons to the Yorkshire Dales next summer, as it's the only pair of bikes that fit inside our car... I'll let you know how "easy" it is to go up Buttertubs pass on a 56 inch gear
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Jeez. It was hard enough on my summer bike. Godspeed.
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    I'm going to chip in a bit here as I've got some decent experience!

    I currently have a Brompton S2L - I love it. It folds very small and the two gears do what i need it to (foot of chilterns, not going up into chilterns). I would agree that there are compromises on gear range and you are buying into the Brompton "ecosystem", but its not unlike an Apple product in that regard. Does what you want it to do very well, there are some limitations and upgrades are limited and cost a fortune, but generally pretty good. I do 8 miles each way on it when I train it and it is fine for that (much better for city riding though).

    I did have a Dahon MuSL (still have) - the only thing wrong with this is that the fold is that little bit bigger than the Brompton and there was that big Dahon/Tern rift thing. I think a 9 speed, normal cassette, quick, slightly bigger wheels and fun to ride. The fold is compromised, that's all really, but you could (and I have) ridden it for longer distances. 15 miles would be fine on it.

    20" wheels are fine - I had the Dahon Hammerhead for a while - its a mini velo which means it folds "flat" rather than in half (you take the bars off and the seat down and the pedals off and it is a thin footprint and I have ridden this pretty much as a normal bike. But the lack of "fold" may mean difficulty getting it on rush hour trains etc.

    My mate had an Airnimal which he rode and "folded" to get on a train - fold is a pain, but it did him well until it got nicked.

    As Ugo has said, I think that a Brompton is your "top" choice and if you don't get one, it'll probably always nag at you that you should have got one, but for riding experience, I'd be looking at something with 20" wheels instead.

    If you're anywhere near London, Fudges Cycle Stores always used to be brilliant for folding bikes (and they'd even "super spec" bikes as well) - I'm not sure if this is still the case, but the guy I used to speak to there was always incredibly helpful and very engaged!

    Or just get yourself a double python: https://www.velorution.com/other/moulto ... gL9avD_BwE
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    mroli wrote:
    Or just get yourself a double python: https://www.velorution.com/other/moulto ... gL9avD_BwE

    That's just bonkers!

    (I thought I was following a link to a couple of sketches involving Cleese, Palin, Idle at al)
  • Mad_MalxMad_Malx Posts: 4,348
    mroli wrote:

    Or just get yourself a double python: https://www.velorution.com/other/moulto ... gL9avD_BwE

    Although Moultons are lovely and do split they aren't really folders, are they?
  • This thread is one of the best in recent times... extremely informative.

    Moulton are for the discerning tourer, who wants to be able to take a train to Inverness and then cycle the Highlands... as every day commuter they are neither the best nor the best value for money.

    I read a book about a guy touring the all coast of Britain on a Moulton in the early 90s
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    Moulton are for the discerning tourer, who wants to be able to take a train to Inverness and then cycle the Highlands... as every day commuter they are neither the best nor the best value for money.

    Ritchey Breakaway. In cross, steel or carbon form. Proper bike that goes in a suitcase (effectively a S&S Coupled bike). get it with Sram Red and you only need to detach the one brake cable.

    Come on Ugo. Don't tell me that you don't want a Double pylon (apols for the earlier typo). Reminds me - I have an email from you that needs answering....

    Folding/split in two, same same(ish).
  • mroli wrote:

    Come on Ugo. Don't tell me that you don't want a Double pylon (apols for the earlier typo). Reminds me - I have an email from you that needs answering....

    Folding/split in two, same same(ish).

    No rush, I sent it in September and there aren't places available anymore... :wink:

    Not really the same thing, I fold my Brompton in 20 seconds and unfold it in 10... with split bikes you are looking at minutes
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